Miami-Dade Nixes $3 Million Grant To Tax Evader After New Times Report

A recent New Times article helped convince Miami-Dade commissioners Tuesday to rescind a $3 million grant they

had awarded to the family of shopping center developer Yoram Izhak.

At the commission's regular meeting,

Commissioner Dennis Moss requested his colleagues reconsider a vote to help pay for the upgrade of Northside Shopping Center at NW 79th Street and 27th Avenue. He cited Izhak's convictions for tax evasion and attempting to board an airplane with a loaded gun. Izhak paid $75 and served probation for the crimes.

"Indeed the gentleman who had been [Northside's]

principal divested his ownership and his wife took his place," Moss

says. "That caused me some concern so I asked that the grant be


Izhak's attorney, Glenn Widom, declined to comment on the commission's reversal. Izhak owned Northside Centre until last year, when he transferred control to his spouse and other business partners, according to state incorporation records. Moss and other commissioners say they did not know about Izhak's crimes when they initially approved the grant this past Jan. 24.

The grant was originally sponsored by Commissioner Jean Monestime, who had to pull his name off and withhold his vote at the last minute when the Miami-Dade ethics commission ruled he had a conflict. Turns out Izhak owns 50 percent of the company that leases office space to Monestime.

At today's meeting, Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, who ended up being the grant sponsor because her district straddles the shopping center, withdrew her support after Moss brought it up. "No one else picked up the sponsorship, so the item died," Moss says. "That means the grant allocation is rescinded."

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.